NFWF Awards $5.8 Million in Grants to Conserve Grassland Habitat and Wildlife through its Northern Great Plains Program

Newly announced grants to advance efforts to conserve more than 6.5 million acres by 2026

Black-footed ferret

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 16, 2022) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $5.8 million in grants that will protect vital grassland habitat throughout the Northern Great Plains. The 18 grants announced today will leverage $6.7 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of $12.5 million.

The grants will support conservation projects that benefit pronghorn, black-footed ferrets and grassland birds such as thick-billed longspur, lark bunting and greater sage-grouse, while at the same time strengthening ranching operations and communities. 

The grants were awarded through the Northern Great Plains Program, a partnership between NFWF and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bezos Earth Fund, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Marathon Oil, the Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Northern Great Plains Program works with willing private landowners and local partners to conserve and restore native prairie and wildlife populations while also benefitting local ranching operations and tribal communities. The projects supported by these grants aim to address the loss of habitat from development and property fragmentation, the spread of invasive species, and a lack of capacity to manage the grasslands of this vast region.

“In addition to enhancing and conserving wildlife habitat for species such as the black-footed ferret and greater sage-grouse, these projects also address climate resiliency and maintain healthy rural economies in partnership with tribal and ranching communities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Thanks to the support of our many partners in the public and private sectors, the 18 projects announced today will benefit wildlife and local communities for many years to come.” 

This year’s awards include projects in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Saskatchewan, Canada. These projects will work with local and state grazing collaborations to incorporate conservation easements as well as wildlife-friendly management and restoration practices into ranch planning efforts. 

“We are grateful for NFWF funding to conserve and restore our priority grassland landscapes,” said Matt Hogan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director for the mountain-prairie Region. “We believe that the outcomes from these projects will contribute to our collective grassland conservation efforts and lead to positive outcomes for wildlife and people.”

These 18 grants will contribute to the goals of the Northern Great Plains Business Plan by:

  • Placing 61,765 acres under conservation easement
  • Improving management on 786,099 acres of working lands
  • Restoring 69,943 acres of habitat
  • Removing or improving 44 miles of fencing to wildlife-friendly specifications
  • Conserving 31 greater sage-grouse leks

A complete list of the 2022 grants made through the Northern Great Plains Program is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit



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